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Battlestar Galactica Deadlock Season One

Posted by GG Goblin On April - 9 - 2019

Much has changed since the game first launched.

As gamers we are very lucky, our hobby is both varied and plentiful. No matter what you specific interest, there will be a video game for you, and the less specific gamer will have a huge amount to choose from. Of course, this means that sometimes a decent game will be missed, perhaps because it flew under the radar, or maybe because it launched during the annual video game detox (that’s a thing, right?). Either way, games get missed. However, that is not always a bad thing, as jumping into a game further down the line can have its benefits. Any early problems with a game can be fixed, and the inclusion of new DLC can drastically change a game from something simply “interesting” to a more compelling title. Games often evolve, and coming late to the party is sometimes for the best.

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This is where I found myself with Slitherine and Black Lab Games’ Battlestar Galactica Deadlock. The fleet tactics game launched a couple of years ago, and has since been bolstered and improved upon with an impressive number of free updates and paid DLC offerings. Now, with the release of the Sin and Sacrifice DLC, the developers have declared that Battlestar Galactica Deadlock Season One has come to an end, perhaps marking the best time to jump into the game and see what all of the fuss is about. Kudos to Black Lab Games for the constant expansion of the game and the presumed continued expansion as Deadlock moves into Season Two.

Jumping in at this point in the game is not a cheap proposal. The Battlestar Galactica Deadlock core game, along with the Reinforcement Pack DLC, The Broken Alliance DLC, Anabasis DLC and the new Sin and Sacrifice DLC are currently bundled together on Steam with a discount for just shy of £54, which is no pocket change. That said, Black Lab Games have been prolific in their release of free updates and patches for the core game, so choosing to begin with just Battlestar Galactica Deadlock is an option, and should offer an upgraded experience over when the game originally launched.

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So, in Battlestar Galactica Deadlock players take command of the colonial fleet during the First Cylon War. Fans of Battlestar Galactica will know far more about what that means than I do. To be honest, I was never a fan and much of the story laid out in Deadlock and the subsequent DLCs was totally lost on me. Played out across a large number of missions, the story seems to adhere well to the Battlestar Galactica lore, at least in my limited experience. The Broken Alliance DLC added yet more story missions, focusing more on colonial politics and integrating themselves into the main storyline. The Anabasis DLC and the more recent Sin and Sacrifice DLC offer experiences outside of the main story, with a new mode offered with one and a new story with 11 missions in the other.

It would take a Battlestar Galactica fan to appreciate the stories told here and how faithful they are to the lore, and that is not me. However, it is easy to appreciate the excellent gameplay in Deadlock. Fan or not, there is a lot to enjoy here.

The core of the gameplay revolves around space battles, and these are played out in three dimensions adding an extra tactical level. It’s not as complicated as it sounds, but does take a bit of getting used to. Fortunately, the game is sort of turn-based, giving players time to plan their strategies and take time to learn. The twist here is that the actions are all played out at once in real-time. Basically, the game pauses and the player is able to assign their moves. At the same time, enemy ships are being given their moves and, once the player indicates they are ready, both friendly and enemy moves are played out. This means that the player has to take into account both what they want to achieve each turn, and what the enemy may do. At its most basic, this means lining up a firing arc to where the player thinks an enemy ship will be.

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It’s a great system that forces the player to predict enemy actions on a turn by turn basis, and results in some magnificent space battles. The depth in Deadlock is really impressive, with a huge variety of different ships that have been introduced through the various DLCs. Each type of ship has its strengths and weaknesses, and different weapon systems that it can bring to bear on the enemy. Players will be responsible for their fleet management, and lack of resources combined with limitations on fleet size mean that the player will never be in a position to simply outgun the opposition.

It’s all very gripping stuff, but can feel somewhat disjointed by the stop and start of the game mechanics. However, after each battle the player can sit and watch an unpaused recreation of their battle, with cinematic flair. It may sound a bit silly, but these replays are really quite excellent and really worth checking out, especially when they reveal that the hard fought battle that took some thirty minutes to play through only actually lasted two and a half minutes. Of course, it wouldn’t be so impressive if the game didn’t look and sound as good as it does. There’s not a lot to be said about space, but the additional environmental factors on the battlefields are nicely done. The ships themselves are the real stars of the show, from the largest Battlestar through to the squadrons of little ships that harass the enemy, they are both varied and very nice to look at. The sound is equally top notch, and the inclusion of radio chatter in the recent Sin and Sacrifice DLC really brings the game to life with more than 1000 recordings that play away in the background, adding personality and drama to the game.

Outside of the main stories, players can indulge in a wide selection of skirmish battles across a large number of maps, and these skirmishes are available in both single and multiplayer. There is also the great survival mode that was introduced with the Anabasis DLC in which the player has a single fleet and must get back to Caprica with as many survivors as possible.

Battlestar Galactica Deadlock has been around since August 2017, and so most fans of Battlestar Galactica that enjoy tactical games will have likely already discovered and started playing the game. With all of the additional content and DLC, along with various quality of life improvements, Deadlock is an impressive tactical game. However, what impresses me the most is how easy it is to be sucked into the game despite having no interest in BSG. This is partly due to the excellent simultaneous turn-based battles, and partly down to how atmospheric and good looking the game is. It can be quite complex, and there is certainly a learning curve, but it really is very compelling.

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Season One of Battlestar Galactica Deadlock has come to a close. Season Two is presumably on the way, and there is no better time than now to start fighting Cylons. With a core game and four solid DLCs, there is ample content to enjoy and improvements have been made along the way. Fans of the shows will get their kicks from the lore, while tactical game fans can experience intense simultaneous turn-based battles. Give it a try and prepare for Season Two.




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